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Any recommendations/tips/views for CAD/3D modelling software

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cookiemonster

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Does anyone in here use CAD or 3D modelling software to help them design their woodworking projects?

If so, any views on which is the best package?

I am hopeless at drawing (I mean stickman hopeless), and so have been thinking about using a computer to help visualise sizes and proportions before committing saw to timber, particularly on the more complicated projects (e.g. there is a double wardrobe in the pipeline, which to me is complicated).

And with things as they are in the world, I will have a fair bit of time on my hands in the next few months to teach myself some new tricks.
 

MikeG.

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For 2D stuff I'm on Draftsight, despite their recent change from free to £90+ / year. They're a great mimic for Autocad. It's impossible to beat Google Sketchup for 3D modelling if you want freeware, in my view. 3D and 2D are entirely different ways of drawing if you are new to both. Personally I have never seen the need for 3D modelling for woodwork. Everything woodwork-wise is so damned simple that straight-forward plans and elevations cover all you need, in my experience, unless you are making for a client who can't visualise.
 

worn thumbs

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Back in the mists of time,say 15 years ago,I downloaded the excellent Progecad.An almost exact clone of Autocad LT with the same interface and file types.It got "improved" and I drifted away from using it.I then had several years of using Rhino 3D professionally and it's associated CAM package and I can't recommend them too highly-just superb.The ability to open or save in a variety of file formats was extremely positive and 3D visualisation is a big bonus.For home use the price is a bit high,although outstanding value for the capability it brings.
These days for personal use I have been getting more closely acquainted with Freecad.Its a parametric modeller with lots of workbenches for particular tasks.If you just want an electronic drawing board for 2D drawings-its there.If you want to put together an assembly of all your components for a project and spin it round,you can.You can also adjust the transparency to see through or into all the nooks and crannies.You can use the FEM aspect to see how much movement there will be under load and I freely admit to having my L plates on the back of the chair when I dabble with this aspect.
There is also a worthwhile CAM workbench if you want to generate toolpaths for CNC and I have been using this quite a lot for producing templates for my modelling projects.There is a choice of post processors and one works with my tiny homebuilt CNC router.

You can download a package for Windows,Linux or Mac absolutely free.It isn't the easiest or most intuitive piece of software and the documentation sometimes lags the development.On the other hand,having seen the way the Photobucket business model evolved I was keen to keep away from something that might mutate into a subscription model.
 

Droogs

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I'd recommend Fusion 360, if you declare its for hobby use or you turn over less than 100k per year the full package is totally free. I was truly amazed at what you can do with it and it even covers both having a cnc router. mill or laser etc. give it a go it is worth it and loads of lesson and courses for free on youtube including from the makers as well
 

That would work

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For teaching engineering we use Solidworks. It's quite sopisticated and probably more than you need but I believe there are 'light' versions that are good value. Most likely though sketchup will suffice.
 

Adam9453

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Another recommendation for fusion 360, for home use I don’t think it can be beaten. Free, Intuitive and loads of training videos on YouTube. We use inventor professionally as we need the additional functionality for the work we do but it’s a lot more expensive and I doubt you need the extra functionality it offers. One of the main benefits for us is we can simply export the cutting list out of inventor which on complicated or large joinery jobs can save us weeks doing the cutting sheets manually. Plus being straight from the model, it removes an opportunity for human error
 

MikeG.

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Stanleymonkey":3bk6v8sn said:
I've been quite impressed by what I have seen of Tinkercard. Free to use online software with some quite serious features.
Autodesk's, isn't it? I wonder how long that will remain free.
 

Myfordman

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Fusion 360 seems to be autodesk’s as well.
I have to bite the bullet and teach myself cad to create gcode for my metal working hobby one of these days.
Question is will I get cad or covid19 first?
 

kinsella

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Sketchup is free to download, I use it a lot. Mainly for woodworking stuff. But I also do 3D printing so I also use Fusion360. If you are not familiar with 3D, start out with SketchUp or one of the other free software noted above. It is intuitive and loads of tutorials on YouTube.
 

boardgamer

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I model everything in Sketchup. Once you get the hang of it, it's fantastic. I recommend "Sketchup for Dummies" if you're a beginner with 3D modelling.
 

cookiemonster

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Thank you to everyone who has responded. Expect a hiatus while I get to grip with one or two of the packages recommended and then I'll post proposed plans in the appropriate part of the Forum for comments on design and materials.
 

AJB Temple

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Thanks for this thread. It encouraged me to download Fusion 360 to try it out. Tried sketchup in the past and found it tedious to learn.
 

MikeG.

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They're all tedious to learn, AJBT, I'm afraid. As a result, once you've learned one you tend to stick to it or its copy-cats and off-shoots.
 

AJB Temple

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Thanks Mike. I had kind of gathered that it would be an activity best for some period when I am , say, forced to self isolate.

The reason I looked at this, is my plumber is on a mission to get me to start 3D printing. He has done some really useful accessories on his set up. Fusion 360 appears to be able to feed 3D printers. Today is day 1 of checking it out.
 

MikeG.

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My plumber is not all that close to the top of the list of people I defer to when making decisions on what to do with my time. :) Your mileage, as the Americans say, seems to vary.
 

Myfordman

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My plan during my 12 week lockdown (as I'm classed as vulnerable) will be to teach myself Fusion360 with the help of you tube videos.
 

AJB Temple

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Well Mike, he is a very smart plumber! He uses his 3D printer to make entire drones, tools etc. Quite impressive. I am also being influenced by No 1 offspring who is studying aeronautical and aerospace engineering in Delft. Having seen them using seriously chunky 3D printers to make stuff like prototype turbine blades for wind tunnel testing, I thought maybe my efforts with a couple of chisels and a hammer might need bringing up to date.

Obviously springing straight from pencil and a ruler, to computerised CADCAM design and manufacture is possibly a small challenge, but I am confident that I will at least master how to log in to 360. 8)
 

Myfordman

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I've downloaded the latest free version of Fusion 360 (ver2.0.xxxx) and started on the tutorial series above. Ist lesson was fine but early on in lesson two, they use the fillet tool and in my version there is no fillet tool under the pull down sketch menu.
The Help is not helpful as there are too many hits mainly about the finer nuances of fillet-ing

Help!
TIA
 
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